Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Israel PM: 'Many more' secret talks with Arab leaders on ties

UAE ends boycott of Israel in US-brokered deal UAE scraps Israel boycott in new step towards normal ties
Bennie Garza | 30 August, 2020, 23:44

Israel hopes to hold a signing ceremony in Washington for its normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by mid-September, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet said on Sunday. The flight holds great symbolic value and is a key step in what is expected to be full normalization between Israel and the UAE.

The deal makes the UAE the third Arab country to agree established ties with Israel, after Egypt reached a deal with the country in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

"Today obviously we celebrate a historic breakthrough for peace", Kushner said, adding that the deal will create "previously unthinkable" economic, security and religious cooperation.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee, said Kushner and his team were "scrambling to convince as many Arab and Muslim leaders as possible" to attend a White House signing event and give Trump a boost ahead of the November 3 USA presidential election. Nearly immediately, they opened direct phone lines, and Cabinet ministers have held friendly phone conversations.

On Saturday, the Gulf power announced it was scrapping its economic boycott against Israel, allowing trade and financial agreements between the countries.

There are no official air links between Israel and the UAE, and it was unclear whether El Al would be able to fly over Saudi Arabia, which has no official ties with Israel, to cut down on flight time.

US Secretary of State and former Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner plan to tour the Middle East trying to drum up more normalisation deals from Arab states.

Israeli and UAE flags line a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, on August 16, 2020.

"Israel continues to be strengthened and is one of our highest priorities of the Trump administration", U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said.

Top Trump adviser Jared Kushner and the other United States delegates were due in Israel on Sunday to prepare for the UAE mission.

Statements issued by the UAE and Israel on Sunday said the UAE minister of state and Israel's agriculture minister spoke by phone on Friday and "pledged to collaborate on projects that address food and water security".

Trump unveiled a Mideast plan in January that has been rejected by the Palestinians, who say it unfairly favors Israel.

Palestinians have condemned the UAE's move as abandonment of a policy of linking official relations with Israel to achievement of Palestinian statehood in territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war.

Netanyahu also said that the Palestinians "have had for far too long a veto on peace".

The UAE-Israel agreement was slammed by Palestinian groups after it was announced, with the groups saying it does nothing to serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of the Palestinian people. "As more Arab and Muslim countries join the circle of peace, the Palestinians will eventually understand their veto has dissipated and they will be hard pressed to stay outside the community of peace".

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